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Born: September 5, 1963
Biography (via Wikipedia): Terry Lynn Ellis (born September 5, 1963) is an American singer–songwriter and actress. Ellis is best known as a founding member of the R&B/Pop vocal group En Vogue.
Terry Ellis was born in Houston, Texas. She is the daughter of Lennie James Ellis and the former Evelyn Marie Patton. Ellis graduated from Worthing High School of Houston in 1982 and she received a degree in Marketing from Prairie View A&M University in 1990. During her years at Prairie View A&M University, Terry honed her vocal skills under the tutelage of Dr. Ruby Hebert and Professor George Edwards, Director of the Marching Storm Band, where she was lead vocalist. Additionally, through the auspices of the Office of Student Activities and guidance of its Director, Frederick V. Roberts, Terry participated in several talent showcases, performed on special programs including the Miss and Mr. Prairie View A&M University Pageants and also sang as an opening act for many major concerts on the campus.
In 1988, Ellis auditioned to sing in forthcoming female-group. Initially producers Denzil Foster and Thomas McElroy had already selected singers Dawn Robinson, Maxine Jones, and Cindy Herron to be in a three-woman girl group, but added Ellis after hearing her sing. After adding Ellis to the line-up, the group became a quartet and originally chose the name "For You,” later changed to En Vogue. Ellis sang lead vocals on the intro of the group's first single "Hold On,” which peaked at number 2 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart, and sold over a million copies becoming platinum certified by the RIAA. Later that year, the group released their debut album Born to Sing, which went platinum. Ellis also sang lead vocals on the singles "Lies" and "Don't Go,” both of which charted in top-five positions on Billboard's Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart.
The group released their second album Funky Divas in 1992, which sold over 3.5 million copies in the United States. Ellis shares lead vocals on one of the album's top-charting singles "Free Your Mind". "Free Your Mind" won two MTV Video Music Awards, for "Best R&B Video" and "Best Dance Video.” En Vogue released an EP in the fall of 1993, entitled Runaway Love.
In November 1995, Ellis departed from the group and released her debut solo album, Southern Gal. The album spawned the singles "Where Ever You Are" and "What Did I Do To You?" Within a year of its release the album had sold over 142,000 copies. The album is considered a commercial failure after sales failed to match the standard of En Vogue's success. She also released her own fragrance titled "Southern Exposure.”
In 1996, En Vogue recorded "Don't Let Go (Love)" with Ellis singing the final verse of an extended version of the song. On the album's version, Ellis only sings background on "Don't Let Go (Love).” The song was featured on the soundtrack to the motion picture Set It Off. Released in the autumn, it became the group's biggest hit to date going number one worldwide. It also sold over 1.8 million copies worldwide and became certified platinum by the RIAA.
In response to the large commercial success of "Don't Let Go (Love),’ the group steadfastly went to work on its third album. As the album was nearing completion, Robinson chose to leave the group in April 1997 after difficult contractual negotiations reached a stalemate. The ending result saw En Vogue re-recording their third album with Ellis singing lead vocals on more of the songs. In June 1997, the group released their third studio album EV3, which went platinum.
In 1999, Ellis toured as a backup singer for Toni Braxton. She also appeared as one of Chanté Moore's friends in the music video "Chanté's Got a Man" in 1999. In 2000, she also released a song called "Call on Me" on the soundtrack for the romantic drama Disappearing Acts. In 2005, Ellis was featured in the Stevie Wonder music video "So What The Fuss" with her original En Vogue group members Dawn Robinson, Maxine Jones and Cindy Herron. Throughout the years, Ellis continued to record on the group's albums: Masterpiece Theatre (2000), The Gift of Christmas (2002), and Soul Flower (2004).
In 2012, Ellis and fellow member Cindy Herron sued now-former member Maxine Jones demanding $1 million for unauthorized use of the name, though the damages request was ultimately determined to be without merit, as Ellis and Herron could not demonstrate harm done to the company from Jones's use of the name (although Robinson was named in the suit, she was not directly involved in the dispute, as she had surrendered her rights to use the name herself when she departed from the LLC years earlier). However, the judge decided to award full rights of the "En Vogue" name to Herron and Ellis.
In July 2014, Ellis signed to Pyramid Records along with fellow member Herron and Rhona Bennett. In November 2014, they released An En Vogue Christmas. In February 2015, Rufftown Entertainment filed a lawsuit against En Vogue, which names Herron and Ellis for breach of contract. Rufftown owner Rene Moore is seeking $310 million from the group.
Terry Ellis is a mezzo-soprano and has a three-octave vocal range which was displayed in the En Vogue song, "Don't Go.” By her groupmates, Terry was credited as the member with the "ballad" type of voice. With En Vogue, she often shared leads, or led the group songs that were funky and soulful. In group harmonies, Terry usually sings the alto arrangement, which is above Maxine Jones, but under Dawn Robinson, or Cindy Herron.